Susannah Gent’s ‘Psychotel 2’ at Wollaton Street Studios, Nottingham, 03 – 27 June 2024

Psychotel 2 is a cinematic installation project exploring the uncanny. The exhibition employs elements from cinema’s supernatural horror genres; bizarre interpretations of
psychoanalysis; and philosophical investigations into the structure of identity. Visitors are
subjected to slow nuanced arrangements of objects, kaleidoscopic sequences of images,
filmic topologies of thought, and lightly veiled filth; in order to release the uncanny’s power to make us question what we think we know.


Psychotel 2
A Wollaton Street Studios Research Residency
03 – 27 June 2024
By Susannah Gent

Exhibition 1 & Private View: Thursday, 6 June, 6-8pm
Exhibition 2 & Artist Talk: Thursday, 20 June, 4-6pm
Exhibition 3 & Closing Event: Thursday, 27 June, 4-6pm


About the Residency
Wollaton Street Studios’ research residencies are an opportunity for artists to experiment
with the creation of new exhibitions. Susannah Gent will incorporate her sixty-minute
experimental film, Psychotel, into an installation, using multiple projectors and sculptural
forms. During the residency three iterations of the installation will be constructed. Each of
these will form a new exhibition, open to the public. A mid-residency talk, by the artist, will discuss the process and background to the work.


About the Artwork
The film, Psychotel, takes the hotel as a metaphor for the multi-dimensional psyche of the
film’s main protagonist; with a clean front of house and a chaotic hidden service region.
First-person and third-person narrations, and the voice of the hotel complicate the usual
viewer alignment with the onscreen character. The uncanny (German unheimlich
“unhomely”) arises when the familiar becomes strange, the known becomes questionable
and the body – the first home of the self – becomes corrupt. Uncanny figures hover
ambiguously between the living and the dead: the ghost and the undead, as well as the spirit guide turned bad. The uncanny appears during states of uncertainty, when we hold
conflicting views, and once more believe in primitive notions that ought to have been
surpassed. In society the uncanny haunts from the margins where the overspill of
that-which-does-not-fit coagulates. What we lack is a lexicon of thought. Psychoanalysis has brought us fascinating internal landscapes, while simultaneously boxing up the psyche as a dirty little secret. Ideas from the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari, and Jacques Derrida dovetail with intuitively produced image sequences, which explore how film can be used as a research tool that produces alternative forms of knowledge. In this project, the film Psychotel will become part of an installation, Psychotel 2. The installation starts from the understanding that the cinema spectator anticipates familiarity, while the installation audience awaits novelty. Originally produced to be presented as an immersive black box experience, the residency explores the impact on a film, already filled with rooms, being placed within a room, where it competes with objects, and reflections; and which can be viewed at any point during its projection.


About the Artist
Susannah Gent is an experimental filmmaker and educator at Sheffield Hallam University.
Psychotel was produced in the context of her practice-led Ph.D: “The neuroscientific
uncanny: a filmic investigation of twenty-first century hauntology.”
Gent’s films of the past thirty years explore approaches to representing interiority and
unorthodox narrative structure. Her commissions from the British Film Institute, Channel
Four, and the BBC have won awards at international film festivals. Her recent retrospective
at the Short Film Festival of Oberhausen, the longest running experimental festival in
Europe, was accompanied by film broadcast and documentary screening on Arté. Although
a specialist in film, Gent has undertaken installations which incorporate fine art taxidermy.
Her current research expands the study of the uncanny towards a deeper understanding of
neurodivergency through filmmaking and the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Felix